Skip to main content

AfterShock Comics First Titles Offer Unique and Exciting Stories (Review)


Since its launch in April of 2015, a lot has been expected from upstart comic book publisher AfterShock Comics. With a veteran management team at the helm and a stable of star-studded creative talent, AfterShock is looking to make an impact in the competitive comic book market. Their initial slate of titles have been released and they demonstrate a unique and eclectic mix of genres influenced by dynamic creators. Here is my first impression of the first wave of books from AfterShock.



InSEXts (MR)

(W) Marguerite Bennett

(A/CA) Ariela Kristantina

At the dusk of a century, a pair of vengeful Victorian vixens discover a horrifying power that transforms them into rich and strange new creatures. Armed with their dark, evolving forms, they descend into a world of the cultured and occult, with new senses and new sensuality, to forge a life for themselves and the child of their love. This new monthly series is the brainchild of writer Marguerite Bennett (A-Force, Angela, Red Sonja) and artist Ariela Kristantina (Wolverines, Deep State), a comic unlike any you’ve seen before!

'Insexts' is a seductively twisted tale of two Victorian women who've learned to bypass the patriarchy of the day with the use of some powerful, albeit gross, supernatural forces. The mature rated series delves into erotic territory that is rarely seen in comics but writer Marguerite Bennett handles it with class and provides some gruesome surprices along the way. It's the type of creator-owned venture that finally allows Bennett's talents to flourish and deliver an exceptionally dark and ominous story. 

Artist Ariela Kristantina creates an eerie atmosphere with scenes cast in shadows and detailed panels that encompass the furnishings and architecture of the Victorian age. She's as adept at choreographing a sexual rendezvous as she is at illustrating an unconventional blood-splattering birth.Trust me, you have to see it to believe it.

Replica (MR)

(W) Paul Jenkins

(A/CA) Andy Clarke

Meet Trevor Carter, an Earth-born peacekeeping agent on the intergalactic hub known as The Transfer. When Trevor’s already near impossible assignment becomes a bit too much for the errant detective, he turns to the only logical ap-proach, Replication. More of a good thing can’t hurt, right? A single clone could be helpful; unfortunately the replication process doesn’t go as planned! Written by Eisner-award winning author Paul Jenkins (Wolverine: Origin, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man) and art superstar Andy Clarke (Batman, Judge Dredd), this monthly series promises to be fun, daring, adventurous and most times, quite offensive.

Speaking of unconventional, 'Replica' is a sci-fi police procedural with a twist. Amid millions of lifeforms and species, Detective Trevor Carter patrols "The Transfer," a crossroads in space where keeping the peace is crucial to the survival for everyone and everything on the station. Yet, with a trigger-happy alien partner, Carter is overwhelmed at trying to do his job without his superiors getting on his back. If only he could clone himself in order to cover more ground and get more done. 

Luckily, Carter can clone himself but as with any good sci-fi tale things go horribly wrong during the procedure. He now has to wrangle not just one clone but 49 other Carters. Paul Jenkins and Andy Clarke drop the reader in the middle of a fully-formed universe where creatures of all kind coexist and justice is still a priority. It's an immersive and exciting adventure thus far with a ton of potential for space cop drama. 

SuperZero

(W) Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti

(A) Rafael de Latorre

(CA) Amanda Conner

With great power comes a bit of insanity, anxiety, and a dash of social alienation! Have you ever fantasized about being a super hero? Well Dru Dragowski does; that’s all this nineteen-year-old, comic book obsessed, high school senior thinks about. She needs to escape the normalcy of suburban life! Her plan? To become a real-life superhero by recreating the origins of her favorite comic characters! Hopefully then, she can become a hero not only for herself – but to protect every-one around her! If only that plan went just the slightest bit right... This fun, teen-agnst filled monthly series is created by the sensational writing duo that brings you Harley Quinn and Starfire – Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner.

Who better to bring a story about a young woman obsessed with superheroes than the team that brings Harley Quinn and Starfire to life every month. Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have a unique twist with Dru Dragowski who daydreams about becoming a superhero and is determined to manipulate her own origin story to make it happen. Dru is endearing, relatable, and sweet, but this obsession is getting in the way of graduating high school. 'SuperZero' is sharply written with plenty of inside jokes about the comic book business and superhero dogma. Rafael de Latorre has a great light cartoonish style that enlivens the book with fun characterizations. It's a wonderful series for the comic book fan of any age. 

Dreaming Eagles (MR)

(W) Garth Ennis

(A) Simon Coleby

(CA) Francesco Francavilla

Inspired by true events, Dreaming Eagles tells the story of the first African Ameri-can fighter pilots to join the United States Army Air Force in WWII and whose humble beginnings in Tuskegee, Alabama propelled them into the deadly skies above Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Not only were they instrumental against the Nazi war machine, but also braved an equally great challenge, overcoming everyday bigotry amongst their fellow American soldiers as well as civilians at home. High in the heavens, they fought a battle that would change their country and their world forever. Industry legend Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys, Hellblazer) joins artist Simon Coleby (2000 AD, The Authority) for this high-flying tale of love, war and family.

One of the most pleasant and unexpected surprises in the initial AfterShock line-up is 'Dreaming Eagles.' It takes place during the Civil Rights movement of the '60s and told through a single African-American family. The father, a veteran fighter pilot of the legendary U.S. Air Force all-black Tuskegee Airmen, is at odds with his son's growing activism during the infancy of the Civil Rights movement. There's a generational gap between the two but when he starts to describe his challenges during World War II they slowly begin to find common ground. There's nothing like this in comics. It's an important story of men who were treated like second class citizens at home but were Hitler's worst nightmare as they ruled the skies above Europe. Garth Ennis is supremely talented and handles the characters with dignity amid familial strife. Simon Coleby provides some dynamic panels covering the present day and flashbacks to the war. The aerial dogfights are especially stunning. 


So far, AfterShock Comics is off to a solid start. They're offering some eclectic quality books with top talent telling some unique stories. With consistent output of titles like this, AfterShock could find themselves in the top tier of independent comic book publishers. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Best Comics of 2017

It's that time of year again. What comics site is complete without an obligatory "Best of 2017" list? No doubt it's been a crazy year in so many ways and the comic book industry is no different. But instead of concentrating on the scandals and controversies all that matters is the fruit of so many talented peoples' labor who've produced some amazing stories. These are just some of the best independent comics of 2017.


DISCLAIMER: [Editor's Note] Spartantown relies on the generosity of independent comic book publishers to provide review copies in order to post reviews. Thanks to companies like Image Comics, Valiant Entertainment, Archie Comics, Dynamite Comics, Black Mask Studios, Action Lab, and occasionally others, I've had access to some wonderful stories that otherwise I would have missed. I don't get review copies from mainstream publishers like DC Comics and Marvel so this "Best of..." list is far from comprehensive but a good sample …

REVIEW: 'Port of Earth' #3 by Zack Kaplan, Andrea Mutti, and Vladimir Popov

The hunt continues for a deadly rogue alien accused of killing a human. ESA agents Rice and McIntyre abide by different rules which make this pursuit a tense, precarious affair. A city on shut-down, a cop with a hair-trigger, and a showdown that could alter intergalactic diplomacy forever.


PORT OF EARTH #3 
Writer: Zack Kaplan Artist: Andrea Mutti Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: January 10, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
'Port of Earth' continues to evolve from a savvy sci-fi premise to a thrilling cop drama to a thought-provoking commentary on American worker displacement and the otherness of aliens as an allegory for immigrants. It's not heavy-handed mind you but there are layers to Zack Kaplan's story. When you consider the seismic change an alien technology that helps turn water into an efficient and powerful energy source would have on the planet it's inevitable that it would set off a societal chain reaction. Especially for those displaced by…

Fred Van Lente & CAFU Decode ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1

Valiant announces ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 – a hard-charging, standalone special coming this winter from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Incredible Hercules) and red-hot rising star CAFU (RAPTURE)! On February 7th, join in a riotous celebration for the ages as Armstrong, for the very first time, uncorks the ancient mysteries of his centuries past – and dares his closest comrades into the adventure of several lifetimes!

Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the C…

NYCC: Dynamite's Next 25-Cent Revival is 'Dejah Thoris' with Amy Chu

The Princess of Mars is set to return to her throne this January, as Dynamite Entertainment announces the relaunch of one of their most beloved characters, Dejah Thoris. Writer Amy Chu (Poison Ivy, Red Sonja, KISS) will bring the strong, iconic character back to the comics in the debut issue Dejah Thoris #0, which will retail for 25 cents and allow fans to join the adventure at this introductory price.


This replicates the outstanding debut of Sheena #0, which broke 120,000 sales. Retailers can confidently stock their shelves with extra copies of this red-hot new series.

This exciting prequel to Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved book, A Princess of Mars, will delve into the untold story of the classic Red Martian princess!  After learning of the legendary Gardens of Mars from her grandfather, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, sets off on a dangerous scientific expedition to save her dying planet. But things don't go the way she planned when she encounters a mysterious Green Martian…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …